Almendra Winery and Distillery launched Monkey Face Gin in late 2017. Their gin is distilled from grain in a traditional copper pot still. Furthermore, it features locally grown California almonds.
Finally— as for the curious name— the Monkey Face is a Chico, California area landmark. The rock formation looks like the face of a Chimp. The steampunk goggles though are a gin exclusive.
Especially at first pour, lavender jumps out of the glass. Monkey Face Gin also has a nutty, slightly grassy undertone with hints of orange rind and orange pith. It reminds me of a minty bitter orange marmalade.
Sipped neat, Monkey Face Gin is quite vivid with a lot of botanical intensity. Lavender with hints of Fuji Apple at first. The middle notes are then heavy with citrus. Sugar sweetened mandarin sections and lemon. Finally the finish is a bit more resinous. Juniper becomes a bit more present, along with hints of the rosemary and celery.
The spirit has a thin texture that rinses over the tongue quickly, but the botanical strength helps the flavor endure quite long. In fact, Monkey Face Gin has quite a long finish. A bit of warmth, but notes of juniper, bitter orange, and a dry earthy, nuttiness make the dry out quite intriguing.
The Gin Wife said upon tasting, “this would make a good Negroni.” And I tend to agree.
Monkey Face Gin’s lavender notes dominate a bit in a Gin and Tonic, though it takes on a more interesting lavender soda flavor in a Gin and Soda. I tend to find that ice and effervescence accentuated Monkey Face’s floral character.
Monkey Face Gin is a pleasant and bold contemporary style gin. It’s general character is heavy in some of the floral and light citrus; and while the juniper makes an appearance, it’s something of an afterthought in the botanical blend.
That being said, Monkey Face has three distinct phases of flavor. And while they’re not tightly integrated— they in fact feel like separate phases— the fact that Almendra Winery and Distillery managed to pack all three into here means that it’s not even the slightest bit boring.
Overall, fans of more floral gins and fans of gins that bring all of their flavor to the party will enjoy Monkey Face Gin.